Excel provides a collection of formulas that can manipulate or transform text within a cell. Two of these let you extract text from either a cell's beginning or its end.
This formula does just what the name implies. It refers to a cell within a workbook and displays a specified number of characters starting from the cell's left. Let's say that B2 contains the following text "Excel is my favorite app". In this example, B2 contains a string of text that is 24 characters long. Each letter has a position, starting with 1 at the far left and ending with 24 at the right.
Select any other cell in the workbook and type the following: =Left(B2, 5), then press Enter. The result is Excel, which contains the first five characters from cell B2.
It's like Left, but it works the other way around. It displays a specified number of characters starting from a cell's right. Each character in our example text, "Excel is my favorite app," will have a position, starting with 1 at the far right and ending with position 24 is at the far left of B2.
Select a cell in the workbook and type the following: =Right(B2,3), then press Enter. The result is app, which contains the first 3 characters from the right of cell B2.
In a future post, we'll look at a more text-based formulas that can combine with Left and Right to extract fixed or arbitrary strings of text.